COMPARATIVE STUDY
JOURNAL ARTICLE
RANDOMIZED CONTROLLED TRIAL

Comparison of different airway management strategies to ventilate apneic, nonpreoxygenated patients

Volker Dörges, Volker Wenzel, Peer Knacke, Klaus Gerlach
Critical Care Medicine 2003, 31 (3): 800-4
12626987

OBJECTIVE: Endotracheal intubation is the gold standard for providing emergency ventilation, but acquiring and maintaining intubation skills may be difficult. Recent reports indicate that even in urban emergency medical services with a high call volume, esophageal intubations were observed, requiring either perfect intubation skills or development of alternatives for emergency ventilation.

DESIGN: Simulated emergency ventilation in apneic patients employing four different airway devices that used small tidal volumes.

SETTING: University hospital operating room.

SUBJECTS: Forty-eight ASA I/II patients who signed written informed consent before being enrolled into the study.

INTERVENTIONS: In healthy adult patients without underlying respiratory or cardiac disease who were breathing room air before undergoing routine induction of surgery, 12 experienced professional paramedics inserted either a laryngeal mask airway (n = 12), Combitube (n = 12), or cuffed oropharyngeal airway (n = 12) or placed a face mask (n = 12) before providing ventilation with a pediatric (maximum volume, 700 mL) self-inflating bag with 100% oxygen for 3 mins.

MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: In three of 12 cuffed oropharyngeal airway patients, two of 12 laryngeal mask airway patients, and one of 12 Combitube patients, oxygen saturation fell below 90% during airway device insertion, and the experiment was terminated; no oxygenation failures occurred with the bag-valve-mask. Oxygen saturation decreased significantly (p <.05) during insertion of the Combitube and laryngeal mask but not with the bag-valve-mask and cuffed oropharyngeal airway; however, oxygen saturation increased after 1 min of ventilation with 100% oxygen. No differences in tidal lung volumes were observed between airway devices.

CONCLUSIONS: Paramedics were able to employ the laryngeal mask airway, Combitube, and cuffed oropharyngeal airway in apneic patients with normal lung compliance and airways. In this population, bag-valve-mask ventilation was the most simple and successful strategy. Small tidal volumes applied with a pediatric self-inflating bag and 100% oxygen resulted in adequate oxygenation and ventilation.

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